Hazlewood down, but not out of Ashes series

Josh Hazlewood will return home immediately after the first Test.
Josh Hazlewood will return home immediately after the first Test. A.M. Ahad

Josh Hazlewood's tour of Bangladesh is over and he won't travel to India for one-dayers either, but he is under no doubt for the start of the Ashes.

The big fast bowler will return home immediately after the match with a side injury, but is aiming to return for the start of the Sheffield Shield season.

Jackson Bird is in line to sub in for the second Test in Chittagong and Australia will call in a shadow player - either another spinner like Steve O'Keefe or a fast bowler like Chris Tremain.

"He's definitely (confident for the summer)," said Pat Cummins of Hazlewood's lay-off.

"It's a pretty common injury unfortunately. Most of us quick bowlers have had it and it's a pretty standard recovery. Hopefully he'll be right. Obviously not playing the one dayers but he'll be right for the first Shield game so he's just going to get home and get that right.

"He's obviously really disappointed to miss this and the Indian series but he's confident."


Pat Cummins will spearhead the Aussie attack.
Pat Cummins will spearhead the Aussie attack. A.M. Ahad

However, the first Test has shown that as long as Australia have Cummins spearheading the attack, they will be hard to stop this summer.

There is a certain irony to the fact that after years of injury setbacks, Cummins is now the only member of Australia's feared pace quartet that is at this moment 100 per cent fit three months out from England's arrival.

Hazlewood is under a cloud, Mitchell Starc is at home still recovering from his foot problem and James Pattinson was scratched from this tour because he wasn't quite 100 per cent right.

At this stage there's no reason to panic about any of them - Starc and Pattinson also appear on track - but part of the reason Australia feel so confident they can blaze down England's door is the super form of Cummins.

If they can unleash all four speed demons for the first Test at the Gabba as they've flagged, it would be an added bonus.

For the 23-year-old whiz kid, it's been worth the wait, and coach Darren Lehmann and the selectors deserve credit for how they've managed Cummins' return.

At some point Cummins just had to play - and much to Australia's relief, he has looked stronger and stronger every time he's taken the field.

In oppressive heat in Dhaka, Cummins exploded out of the blocks to take three wickets on the opening morning, and then on day three he kept defying fatigue to send the set-Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal for 78 packing with an absolute brute of a delivery.

Some of the things Cummins has been able to do on slow, flat decks in India and Bangladesh this year should have England terrified about what he's capable of once he gets his first taste of Test cricket at home.

Cummins in full flight at the Gabba on day one of an Ashes Test will be an awesome sight.

With batting ability, fielding class and an arm like a rocket, Cummins is a once-in-a-generation cricketer.

Australia have been right to foster his talents through the repeated injury setbacks, and now he's repaying them in spades.

Topics:  josh hazlewood test cricket

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